Of the five releases in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, I find Thomas H. Handy to be the most consistent in flavor year after year. While George T. Stagg can vary significantly in flavor profile (see 2019 vs 2020 GTS), THH is a consistently fruity, spicy, and herbal rye that I can always count on when I can actually find it.
I first tried 2017 THH at a whiskey bar near me and upon that first sip, I knew I had to track some down. I eventually traded for a bottle of it a few weeks later and I’m glad I did.
Thomas H. Handy uses Buffalo Trace’s Rye Mashbill which is rumored to be a Kentucky style rye with just 51% rye content in the recipe. The 2017 release was crafted from 72 barrels selected from the 4th 5th, and 6th floors of Warehouses K, L, and Q. With 27.2% of the original whiskey lost to evaporation, the yield was estimated to be just over 14,000 bottles.
|Nose||A sharp blast of mint, licorice, cherry, allspice, baked apples, lemongrass, toasted oak, raspberry, clove. Much softer with water, apple danish, caramel, and a hint of orange.|
|Taste||Cherry Vanilla Coke, tobacco, white pepper, buttery, more mint, grassy, blackberry, rye spice, walnut, caramel, chocolate, hint of menthol. With water, more herbs and less fruit, coffee, and a bit of brown sugar.|
|Finish||Long and herbal with berry influence. Earthy, hint of cough drops, raspberry, vanilla, wood char, cinnamon. Water brings out some pastry notes and a bit of baking spice.|
|Overall Thoughts||A well structured THH that falls into a classic rye profile of spice and earthy notes up front with a layer of berries underneath that round things out nicely. I thing this whiskey opens up nicely over time so approach this pour with some patience and you’ll be well rewarded.|